Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lighting with Unreal Engine

(Direct link to video) One of the reasons I'm glad to be a traditional painter in a digital age is that there's so much to learn from my fellow artists who are on the cutting edge of computer graphics.


In this video, Epic's senior technical artist Alan Willard takes us on a walk-through demo of Unreal Engine 4, a digital toolset used by a lot of game developers. The game engine offers designers the ability to modify parameters and see how they look in real time. 

Even if you don't use such tools or play such games, there's a lot to learn from the increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and way of thinking about the effects of light and smoke and surfaces and particles in the 3D game world.

5 comments:

Gina Florio said...

Thanks for the link James! I think it's fascinating to learn about the ways in which computer graphics are getting better and better at recreating the physical effects of the real world (and even improving upon them?).

Rich said...

Quite interesting lighting studies and effects.
But these scenes are all of them depicted indoors in cellars and dungeons and tubes and tunnels: Where is the "plein air"? I'm missing some outdoor daylight :-(

Reminds me of all those kind of doomsday sci-fi-movies. They usually are enacted and play during night times and are effectively lightened up at/during dark or sombre surroundings.

Would all this be more difficult to be re-enacted at times of daylight?

Kevin said...

@Rich: It's a lot easier to see lighting effects when you don't have much ambient light. They still have an effect outside, obviously, and that effect is vital to realism, but it's a whole lot more subtle. For a tech demo, you want everything to be as clear as possible.

Craig Banholzer said...

Amazing effects! Powerful tools! Complete and utter lack of taste and real creative intelligence! As I was guided through this third-rate "Heavy Metal" dungeon, I kept thinking, "Man, I wish this place were half as cool as the worlds James Gurney creates!"

Rich said...

@Kevin:
Thanks for your answer and insight - it gave me some more clues.
A "whole lotta more subtle effects" in daylight realism, as you dubbed it.
Just wanted to say it's nice to get a question thoughtfully answered.